As the centerpiece of the Green Bay Packers defense, Clay Matthews' availability is more important than any player on the team not named Aaron Rodgers. As such, it's noteworthy that the All-Pro linebacker missed practice Thursday, his third-straight session.
Matthews cited a sore knee as the cause for his absence during Tuesday's practice, though he downplayed the severity of the injury. While the knee situation may still be considered minor, the fact that the linebacker was held out of practice two days later suggests it's at least a little more serious. Matthews spent Thursday's practice observing his teammates from the sideline.
The Packers also spend the day without several other key defenders. Top cornerback Sam Shields missed most of practice, though he returned for the team's 11-on-11 work. While Shields was out, rookies Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and Ladarius Gunter received extra work. Gunter made the most of his, picking off Rodgers for the second time since the start of camp. At outside linebacker, Nick Perry spent the entire practice watching from the sidelines, leaving Green Bay without three of its top four outside linebackers counting Matthews.
On a positive note, lead tailback Eddie Lacy returned to the fold after exiting Tuesday's practice early with a sore foot. The Packers never considered Lacy's injury serious, and his availability Thursday would seem to confirm that suspicion.
Here is the full injury report from Thursday's practice:
- WR Jared Abbrederis
- WR Ricky Collins
- WR Adrian Coxson
- RB John Crockett
- LB Adrian Hubbard
- OL Vince Kowalski
- LB Clay Matthews
- LB Mike Neal
- LB Nick Perry